There’s no room for Nick Franklin in Seattle because the Mariners don’t trust his defense at shortstop and Robinson Cano kind of has second base locked down for a while, but he’d make plenty of sense for a lot of other teams.
And apparently the A’s are one of them, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that Franklin “is a top target” for Oakland “but the question will be whether Seattle–currently in a playoff spot–would want to strengthen a division rival.”
Oakland would use Franklin at second base, which is where he played for Seattle last season before Cano pushed him out of a job and back to Triple-A. He hasn’t produced much in the majors yet, but Franklin is still just 23 years old and has hit .300 with nine homers and an .875 OPS in 60 games at Triple-A this season after posting even better numbers there last year.
Trades within divisions are rare, but the Mariners have been said to be shopping Franklin since signing Cano this offseason and Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com says the A’s still have plenty of talent in their farm system even after the big trade for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.